DEVELOPMENT OF BABY’S FEET
In the development of a baby, the feet are one of the fastest growing and parts of the body. Baby will outgrow socks and shoes faster than any article of clothing. Choosing proper foot coverings for baby’s feet is crucial since the feet are actively part of motor skill development. Obviously, they are used for learning the motor skill of walking. They are also part of the motor skill of crawling since they assist in propelling the body forward. They coordinate with the hands in the motor skills of grasping and reaching as the baby demonstrates in the above video from 12stringssteel’s youtube channel This baby has discovered his feet and how interesting they are to touch. There are the short and stubby toes that wiggle and the smooth soles, very different tactile experiences. The developmental stage where baby plays with his toes and feet is an important one. Notice how toward the end of the video he takes his left hand to the right foot. This diagonal connection is a very important milestone.
BABY FEET AND BABY SOCKS
The only reason baby’s feet need to be covered during the pre-walking stages of infant development is for warmth. Baby’s feet can be kept warm with socks or a blanket, shoes are not necessary. Since the feet grow in size quite a bit during the first year, it is best not to cover baby’s feet in a way that constrains the length or width of the foot. Keep the socks fitting loosely. It is important not to stuff the feet into a pair of socks like putting sausages in a casing. Sometimes socks will shrink in the wash. In this situation the socks changed size rather than the feet but it is the same problem for baby of not enough wiggle room for the toes and uncomfortable pressure on the sides of the feet. It is important for baby to be comfortable.
Remember, barefoot is best for baby!
Posted in OTHER
Tagged locomotion, play
The most common moral taken from this popular song for babies is about getting back up again when you get knocked down or that life has cycles of events and/or emotions. By pairing the song “Coming Around Again” with “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” Carly Simon drives this point home in an endearing way. Watch her perform the two songs together in a live performance on Martha’s Vineyard, video from Carly Simon’s youtube channel. Learn the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” lyrics and hand motions (see video below) to sing to baby.
ITSY BITSY SPIDER LYRICS
The itsy bitsy spider,
Climbed up the water spout,
Down came the rain,
And washed the spider out.
Out came the sun,
And dried up all the rain,
And the itsy bitsy spider,
Climbed up the spout again.
ITSY BITSY SPIDER HAND MOTIONS
The above video from SuperSimpleSongs’ youtube channel shows the hand motions very clearly and the option of using the words “Eensey Weensey” rather than “Itsy Bitsy” to describe the spider. Babies love to watch the hand motions for this song. It is especially entertaining for them when you exaggerate some of the hand motions. For example, take your hands up high above your head for “climbed up the water spout,” tickle baby lightly as your hands draw “down came the rain,” and tilt your head with your arms from side to side for “out came the sun.” Observe how baby tilts her head to look up high and smiles as you sway side to side. Sing this song often and baby will enjoy the familiarity of the tune and the movements. Eventually, she will learn them with you.
Posted in GAMES FOR BABY
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, FROM STELLAR CATERPILLAR !
We would like to share a few quotes from our “Inspiration” board on Pinterest for all mother’s of babies, teachers of children, grandmothers, aunts, nannies, babysitters, and friends and neighbors who lend a hand in the community of raising healthy and happy babies. Nurturing can be done by many individuals, so in these quotes the word “mother” can be substituted with “grandmother” or “nanny” or anyone who lends a caring hand.
Mothers encourage our creativity.
Mothers show us that the mundane can still be playful, and babies teach us the same.
Mothers are always present for us.
Motherhood is not a competition.
Offer a mother the chance for a simple break. Watch her child while she makes a cup of tea.
Posted in OTHER
Question from a mother in class:
My 3 1/2 month old baby is getting more used to tummy time, but she still does not love it. Do you have any ideas?
Stellar Caterpillar answers:
Try baby’s tummy time in different locations in your home so she has different environments to stimulate her vision. Sometimes place her facing a big window such as a sliding glass door. This is wonderful because at this age babies see light very well. If you have a pet you might place them where they can see the pet moving since babies also see movement very well. I highly recommend to all mothers to get down on your tummy in front of your baby so that when she lifts her head she can see your face. The different environments to stimulate her curiosity through the sense of sight which will motivate her to keep her head up a bit longer.
One week later, the mother returned to class and said “Changing the environment definitely helped. She seems to stay with her head up a bit longer and is enjoying it.” (Some tummy time solutions may be more simple than you think.) Even if baby is enjoying her tummy time you it can be interesting to place her so she has changes of scenery when she lifts her head. The motor skill of lifting the head is one of the earliest skills baby develops. When she is intrigued by the fact that when she lifts her head she can see something interesting or someone she knows, she will want to keep her head up longer. The action of lifting her head strengthens her neck and back muscles and prepares her for many motor skills down the road. It is worth the effort to try and get baby to the point that she not only tolerates tummy time, but she enjoys it!
WHAT IS “SOCIAL REFERENCING?”
As a baby develops motor skills of crawling and walking that allow her to move around and explore, she soon begins to look back at mom to see if it is OK to play with unfamiliar objects or to go around new corners. In child development this behavior of looking back to a parent to see if something new or unfamiliar is OK is called “social referencing.” Babies and children look to the adults they trust to provide them with clues to safely guide their explorations. The clues often come from the parent’s non-verbal behavior, in particular the facial expression.
THE VISUAL CLIFF EXPERIMENT
Joseph Campos of the University of California at Berkeley conducted the now classic baby experiment that investigated the role of facial expressions in providing infants with the clues of whether or not to proceed when faced with the unfamiliar. Using an experimental strategy developed in the 1950s called the Visual Cliff, he created a situation that was unfamiliar and somewhat frightening for the babies. Infants between 9 and 12 months are placed one at a time on a plexiglass table with a checkered pattern. In the middle of the table is a visual drop off which is created by replacing the checkered pattern table top with a strip of clear plexiglass. This created the appearance of a sudden drop in the table although the surface is completely uninterrupted. The baby is placed on one side of the table while the mother stands on the other side while holding an appealing toy. When the baby crawls to the center strip where the drop off appears, they sense they change and the potential danger. They look to their mother to see what to do.
FACIAL EXPRESSIONS AND INFANT DEVELOPMENT
In the visual cliff experiment, the mother makes either a fear face or a smile/encouraging face as directed by the experimenter. In most cases the baby responded to the fear face by choosing not to cross the visual cliff. The mothers were trained to make the fear face by raising their eyebrows, widening their eyes, and opening their mouth. When the mother posed a smile or encouraging face the baby confidently crossed the visual cliff to reach the toy. Watch the above video from vooktv’s youtube channel to see the experiment in action.
PARENTING TIPS: BABY CONFIDENCE
Parenting tips learned from this experiment include being clear to make an encouraging face when you child is trying something new that is positive and safe and making a fear face when the child is considering an action not desired or dangerous. Spend some time looking in the mirror and exaggerating these facial expressions so they become very obvious. Observe your baby to see when she looks to you as if to ask, “Is this OK?” Provide clear clues for your baby as she explores the world around her. This gives baby confidence to explore, play with a new object, by held by an unfamiliar relative visiting from out of town, and more.
WHEN TO STOP SWADDLING BABY
Newborn babies sleep very well when swaddled. The pressure of the fabric against their muscles and bones help them sense their bodies more clearly and they feel more secure as a result. This physical sensation created by the cloth fabric replicates the experience of being in the womb where baby feels pressure from the water. Parents learn to swaddle baby in order to quiet baby for naps and for sleeping through the night. Soon, they ask “When do I stop swaddling baby?” Many parents stop swaddling baby by the age of two to three months. As babies begin to learn to feel their limbs stretch and learn the early motor skill of rolling onto their tummy, the swaddling can be restrictive and potentially dangerous.
HOW TO STOP SWADDLING BABY
Transitioning baby from swaddling to no swaddling is not so easy sometimes. The key is to create a similar physical sensation for them of the pressure on their body which makes them feel secure without the restriction of the fabric wound around them. This concept is the idea behind a “sleepsuit.” The thickness of the fabric and the snug fit help baby feel secure so she can sleep through the night. A favorite sleepsuit is Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit. Designed to create a “cozy, calming, and safe sleep environment,” the Magic Sleepsuit is an excellent transition out of the swaddling. Developed by a pediatric physical therapist who is also a mother of four, the idea behind the magic sleepsuit was how to prolong the duration and quality of a baby’s sleep. One of the most important events in the development of a baby is sleep. With a good night of sleep on a daily basis they have more energy for their motor skill development. Next, we would like Magic Merlin to create a sleepsuit for tired mommies.